Sunday, 31 July 2011

Tour of Fife Day 4 - Chariots of Fire (and Water) race




Photo from the Tour of Fife Photos site - thanks

Last night was the iconic Chariots of Fire Beach Race. Much as people moan and groan about the uphill race, I dread this one as if you've been dodging your basic speedwork (and I have) well - this race will find you out! Decision of the day was to wear old road shoes as I've worn trail shoes for the last 2 years and had come to suspect that the narrower trail shoes were more apt to sink in the sand and far from providing grip were actually counter-productive. We had a recce of the course beforehand - but not the whole course of course because if we had we'd have had to run 4 miles (2 miles out and back again). So I congratulated myself on the flat hard-packed sand that my footwear was just fine...until...

No shoe would have helped much on the horrible sinky sands around the headland but then we were onto some vile green slippy surface and my road shoes skated around and provided no traction at all. I'd heard that the word was that we would get our feet wet in this race but I had assumed it would be some mild river crossing - that kind of thing - not a deliberate diversion into the sea and round a pole! By this time my fine athletic focus was broken as I was teetering and giggling and muttering to myself. I saw Jonathon Whitehead's Carnethy-vested back romp off into the distance and take a piece of pay-back pie...

Before the start I had exchanged a few words with Sophie Mullins and conveyed my sense that I had no plan, no purpose, no hope. She helpfully reminded me of a few basic essentials of beach running. Make sure and be with people when you turn around into the headwind on the way back. Aaaaah. If only it were so easy. I slo-moed as runner after runner presented their back to me for me to duck in behind but my legs refused to move faster and I was out, once again, not to be too dramatic, but like Jesus in the Wilderness as the devil muttered in my ear "just ease up a bit, nobody will know".  I had a bit of a stitch in my left side - nothing too bad, just a discomfort. I addressed the problem of what to do with my mind  as I ran along the flat, endless expanse of sand. I tried counting. I tried shutting my eyes. (This was quite relaxing but I felt foolish). I tried "reeling in" the runners ahead. I was holding steady on the man ahead in the distance, but reeling in I was not.

And at very long last the tiny figures at the finish grew taller and I could hear the polite encouragement of spectators who have already watched much better runners fly past ages ago...and... it was over.

We milled about on the beach for a while. Ruth had run a stormer and was in fine fettle. Julia had just been pipped to the post for the first time and was thinking about how to get fresh for tomorrow so she and Adam went in the sea and bathed their legs Paula style. I eventually followed when I saw how amazing the beach was looking with the shining sand and the low sun. Peter was a bit disconsolate as a certain Patrick O'Kane has taken a bite out of his lead of the O45s and feels he has his work cut out for him today. Willie, like me (but much faster), had found himself in the wilderness on the way back and had dropped back a few places.

What we needed was the healing and restorative power of chips, so we stopped at the chippy on the way back. (Heaving with Carnegies it was.)..and we had a chippy tea. Less guddling about when we got home. As this was the first full meal our Mr Jarvie had had in a week he promptly fell asleep in the back of the car. It was a beautiful clear night for driving back. There wasn't much chat, just listening to music and cruising along in the darkness. So I suppose I better start thinking about today, for in less than 2 hours we'll be away again - off to Strathmiglo for the Fin de Tour....



1 comment:

Tiny Runner said...

I gave advice then failed to heed it... and there wasn't even a lickey Horatio at the end to make it all okay :(